Sunday, August 7, 2011

G-Shock #32: Ethnic G-Shock

So what does it mean, Ethno•G. I was actually curious how to interpret this model. Ethnic groups are groups of people that have the same cultural background. Well, that sounds easy, until I discovered that in autochthon Europe alone there are 9 basic ethnic cultures and over 75 ethnic sub-cultures.
Well, what if you are mixed with cultures. My mother was born in middle Java (near Sumatra) and my father is Dutch, which means in Ethnic sub-culture he’s Netherlandic or Flamish. I can assure you that there are big cultural differences between parts of the Netherlands and Flanders. There are parts of the Netherlands I can’t even understand, because the dialect differs too much from basic Dutch. Actually if I go for a ride on my bike and I am 10 kilometers from my house, it might happen I have to pay a lot of attention to understand what people say. A funny thing is that I worked in “Dutch Flanders” at a monastery hospital. The funny thing is I could hardly understand what the nurses and patients said, but when I spoke to them I had to s-p-e-a-k r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w, else they could not understand what I said. “Dutch Flanders” is in my opinion a crappy translation from Dutch, because in Dutch we say something like “Flanders of Zealand”, which is more accurate. Sometimes we jokingly call them “Spare Belgians”. Am I wandering a little away from the topic of this article a bit too much? Sorry!
There has been two series of Ethno•G in the past. The first series were all DW-003E models, while the second series were all DW-004E models. They all have double cloth/Velcro watchbands. The lower band is non-elastic nylon, covered with Velcro. The upper strap is also a kind of nylon, decorated with a pattern inspired by its dedicated culture. On the upper strap there is a leather patch with the name of the series, “ETHNO•G” sewn. While the first series from august 1997 contain out of 6 models, the second series from August 1998 contained of 8 models. Although my G-Peopleland website says this is the DW-004E-1CT, this is actually the DW-004E-3CT. I will of course update it to my website as soon as possible (remark just for reference purposes).
photo's of the original packaging, taken from an auction on Yahoo Japan.
The name Ethno•G refers to old cultures. The first series, where Ethno G is interpreted as a fusion of Ethnic and Techno (Technology), paid homage to the Aboriginals, the Maia’s and Balinese culture. The second series takes the fusion of Ethnic and Techno to the street fashion trend of 1998 “Digital and Organic”. This time the series were inspired with the cultures of Africa, the South American Inca’s, China and Goa (India). The culture can be found in the first letter in the suffix. Let’s go deeper into the meaning of the first letter in the suffix.
A stands for Afro Mania. It is where it all begun, the birthplace of the Human Race. The pattern on the upper strap is inspired by a traditional dress, called an Oink (could be a translation fault, maybe it’s phonetic. All I can find is related to complete other stuff). In the EL backlight two “Hunga Munga” knives are shown. These knives are traditional African iron throw knives, which find their origin South of Lake Chad. They are thrown in circular motion while the blades leave a deep wound in their prey. Maybe the African equivalent of the non-returning boomerang.
B stands for the Inca culture, known for their advanced civilization and their knowledge about medicine, dyeing of fabrics and building of big elaborate stone structures. The under part of the watchband is inspired by Inca patterns. The EL backlight shows an Inca interpretation of a puma. In the Andes, this was the symbol of power and it was worshiped as a strong god. This symbol was found in the big stone structures they made.

C stands for Chinese Culture. Although the description says the upper band has an Arabesque pattern, it looks more like a plant (bamboo?) pattern to me. The EL backlight is the dragon. In Chinese mythology the dragon is the most powerful and divine creature, which controls all the water. The dragon in the EL backlight is probably Yinglong, the God of the rain. Many Chinese pray to Yinglong in order to receive rain.
D stands for Goa, a culture from India, Nepal and Tibet, which is known for their colorful fashion and music. In the late nineties Goa was very well known for their music, which was a combination of the hippy and Techno culture. The lower strap of the watchband is tie dyed in the hippy style. The upper strap has a pattern with elephants in it. The EL backlight shows Ganesha, the god with the elephant head. Ganesha takes away boundaries and is the god for the travelers. People pray to Ganesha when they are at a n important change in their lives, like when they move to another home, start with a new job or school, etc.

Well, I think these four cultures are pretty interesting inspirations for the design. To me, the Goa style in orange (DW-004E-4DT) does look very good. If I might find it in the future for a fair price, I would probably buy it in an instant. The elephant image in the EL backlight is a great matching bonus on this model.
The basic case of these series is the DW-004, but the module inside the case is different. Most DW-004 models you’ll find have the 1659 module, but this one has 1597 module. This module is usually found on the DW-003 models. Typical for this module is that the display is, except for a very small eye in the upper left, is not divided in sub-displays. On the 1597 the digits form their own sub-displays, with on top information digits (date, mode, current time in other mode).
 Besides Timekeeping mode, you’ll find an Alarm mode, a Coundown Timer mode and a Stopwatch mode. The last 2 modes are 24 hour type. As the time is shown in the upper Display, the Stopwatch mode only shows the hundreds of a second in the first 60 minutes. From then the display goes to HH:MM:SS format, like in Timekeeping mode. The Alarm function can be set as a daily alarm (default). It’s also possible to set a date. If only the month is programmed, the alarm will sound at the programmed time that whole month and if only the day is programmed, for instance “1”, the alarm will sound on that day in the month, so every first of the month in my example.
Above the scenery where I took most photo's, a park around a big villa called "Toorenvliedt" and the photographers little helper.
The little eye at the upper left corner shows can show a sort of star. This icon is used to show that the Flash function is toggled on (default). It is not shown when toggled off. It can be toggled on and off while pressing the lower right button for a few seconds.
I got this watch in a pretty special way. I actually found it on a local Canadian sales website by accident in 2006. I really wanted this watch, so I contacted the seller. He was pretty amazed he got a reaction from The Netherlands. His forefathers actually came from my province Zealand. I already recognized his surname, which was very common in on my island (Walcheren). I had problems in the past with the Canadian postal service. Once a Fisherman was hold up for 62 days (still a record for me) somewhere between a seller and me. The seller of this watch had never traded outside Canada, so he didn’t have Paypal. It was possible to pay with a money transfer. Well, money transfers are probably common in North America, but the service costs here for a money transfer were higher than the cost of the watch. Luckily I had my friend Neil in Chicago. He’s my hero. He bought a money transfer and sent it to the address in Canada. The Canadian seller sent the watch to Neil and Neil posted it back to me and en passant sent me the total costs of the operation by e-mail, so I could pay him with Paypal. It’s already a few years ago, but I remember it was a very smooth and fast transaction. I think I had received the watch at my house in about 8 or 9 days, pretty fast as you bear in mind that there were three international steps via postal services.
No need to tell I was pretty happy with the package when it arrived. I pretty much love all on this watch. I like the DW-002, DW-003 and DW-004 models very much, I love double Velcro straps and the ethnic decoration is also very nice. I do not know the total price (it wasn’t even very high with all the postage costs and fees). The price for the watch In the sales post was around €30.- or so. Maybe the whole operation cost me €50.-. I think I had a very good deal after all. These Techno•G models are unfortunately not often seen. It’s my only model of these series in my collection, but if I had the chance, I would add some more models. I think that the combination of the looks and the background is a very good one.

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